Saudi Connection to Colorado Prison Chief Murder? UPDATE

March 20, 2013

Homaidan al-Turki

Tom Clements, head of Colorado Department of Corrections Was shot dead on Tuesday evening. The intrigue in this murder is reminiscent of the Killing of Michael Francke, head of Oregon prisons in 1989.
Huffington Post reports:

“MONUMENT, Colo. — The executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections was shot and killed when he answered the front door of his house, and police are searching for the gunman and trying to figure out if the attack had anything to do with his position.
Authorities are also looking for a dark-colored “boxy” car seen near the house of Tom Clements, 58, when he was shot around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in Monument, north of Colorado Springs. The vehicle’s engine was running and a witness reported seeing one person driving away in the car.
Lt. Jeff Kramer, of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, said investigators have not ruled anything out, but the shooting could have been related to Clements’ job.
“As the director of the Department of Corrections or any similar type position, it could in fact open someone up to be a target of a crime such as this. Although we remain sensitive to that, we also want to make sure that we remain open-minded to other possibilities as well,” Kramer said.”

Colorado prison chief Tom Clements

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It would take extreme motivation to kill the head of the Colorado prison system. This is clearly not an attempted robbery,  Clements was shot when he first opened the door. No, this was a “hit”.
Looking at Clements’ history, he spent three decades in the Missouri prison system before moving to Colorado. The only high profile case that crossed his desk recently was that of Homaidan Ali Al-Turki.
Al-Turki, a Saudi immigrint who had attended college in Colorado was a translator, publisher and popular figure in the Aurora, Colorado Musilm community.
In November of 2004, Al-Turki and his wife were arrested for keeping a young Indonesian woman as a slave. Along with dawn-to-dusk chores and babysitting, the woman was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Al-Turki.
The case took an interseting turn when the Governor of Colorado asked the State Attorney General to travel to Saudi Arabia and explain the situation to the Royal Family. From Wikipedia:

“The Homaidan Al-Turki case sparked controversy and high-profile attention from Muslims worldwide, particularly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where local media portrayed him as a victim of bias against Muslims and said he would not have been convicted of these crimes had he been tried in his native country. For example, in a show of support, the Saudi government provided Al-Turki with $400,000 to post bond. In November 2006, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers travelled to Saudi Arabia where he visited King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan, and Al-Turki’s family in an attempt to clear up “misperceptions” about the U.S. judicial system and ease the Saudi royal family’s concerns over whether Homaidan Al-Turki was treated fairly.[19] Suthers went there at the request of the U.S. ambassador in Saudi Arabia, who had the State Department contact Colorado Governor Bill Owens. The trip was sponsored and paid for by the U.S. State Department.
Even years after the case was closed, the issue continues to arouse powerful emotions in Saudi Arabia and affect the delicate balance of Saudi-US foreign relations. Saleh Bin-Humaid, chairman of the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia (Shoura Council), brought up Al-Turki’s case during an official meeting with the US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff in Riyadh on March 26, 2009, when he urged Americans to review the topic. According to a public statement from Bin-Humaid, “The Saudi people sympathize with Homaidan Al-Turki and they closely follow up his case.”
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Now here’s the kicker: Al-Turki had been under terrorism investigations since 1995 – again, from Wikipedia:

“Defense attorney John Richilano argued the federal government only filed fraudulent sex-slave charges after failing to make a terrorism case against Al-Turki. They claimed Mr. Al-Turki was under FBI-investigation on possible terrorism links before his arrest. Federal court documents filed by the defense show that the Denver Joint Terrorism Task Force had Al-Turki under a “full fledge investigation” suspecting “he is closely aligned to terrorists and may be providing material support to terrorism.” Evidence also indicated a federal investigation of proceeds from Al-Basheer Publications. They highlighted an incident from April 2005 in Illinois, when state police stopped Al-Turki on Interstate 80 near LaSalle. A message on the national crime information computer warned the officers “terrorist organization member – caution, do not alert this individual to this notice.” His lawyers claim school documents in his car were removed, copied and faxed by the Illinois State Police to the Denver FBI. The U.S. Attorney’s Office responded by maintaining that the terrorism investigation was totally unrelated to the victims allegations.[6]
(Snip)
Al-Turki’s defenders have consistently maintained the charges are politically motivated, and that the FBI has investigated him for suspected terrorism since 1995. They argued that prosecutors persuaded the housekeeper to falsely accuse Al-Turki after a failed bid to construct a terrorism case. In exchange for testifying, she received residency papers and a visa to continue working in the United States.[7] According to family interviews by Arab News, FBI agents threatened and interrogated Al-Turki numerous times following the September 11 attacks. Fahd Al-Naser, Al-Turki’s nephew, indicated FBI harassment started after his 2004 arrest.
(snip)
While incarcerated, Mr. Al-Turki claims he was offered a bargain-deal by U.S. authorities which included deportation to Saudi Arabia and employment as an undercover FBI operative.”
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So why Clements, and why now?
According to The Huffington Post article:

“While Clements generally kept a low profile, his killing comes a week after he denied a Saudi national prisoner’s request to be sent to his home country to serve out his sentence. Homaidan al-Turki was convicted of sexually assaulting a housekeeper and keeping her as a virtual slave. Clements said state law requires sex offenders to undergo treatment while in prison and that al-Turki had declined to participate.”
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Multiple links for this story appear to have been scrubbed from the internet, including a CBS report on terrorism investigations of Al-Turki, as well as a YouTube video which suggested the FBI informant connection and his treatment in prison.
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UPDATE:

Who con­tracted the hit? The suspect was a member of a white supremisist gang. The correlation with the Saudi’s would have been the common animosity towards the Jews.
The Gov­er­nor of Col­orado knew the sus­pects family:

From CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/22/justice/colorado-prisons-chief-shooting/index.html

Links in Col­orado shoot­ings? Cadil­lac, bul­let cas­ings and a pizza box, police say By Jim Spell­man, Ed Lavan­dera and Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
updated 9:40 PM EDT, Fri March 22, 2013

(Excerpts)

“Suspect’s trou­bled past”

As author­i­ties look for pos­si­ble links in the case, a trou­bling por­trait began to emerge of Ebel.

By all accounts, Ebel came from a priv­i­leged upbring­ing. His father, Jack Ebel, an attor­ney and for­mer oil exec­u­tive, counts Col­orado Gov. John Hick­en­looper among his friends.

“When I first came out to Col­orado 30 years ago, he and I worked in the same oil com­pany,” Hick­en­looper told reporters Friday.

The gov­er­nor described Jack Ebel as “gen­er­ous to a fault,” but said the son “had a bad streak.”

“We knew his son grow­ing up that he just had a bad streak,” Hick­en­looper told CNN affil­i­ate KUSA. “I think Jack, his wife, they did every­thing they could.”

Hick­en­looper, who did not go into details about the behav­ior, said he first learned the younger Ebel was a sus­pect in the killing of Clement on Thursday.

His first reac­tion? “There can’t be two Evan Ebels.”

“I didn’t even know Evan was out,” Hick­en­looper said, adding that he called the Ebel fam­ily a short time later.

The Ebels, accord­ing to Hick­en­looper, were dev­as­tated by the news.

The gov­er­nor said he never inter­vened on behalf of the younger Ebel, and he said Jack Ebel never made such a request.

Lengthy prison record

In 2003, at the age of 18, Evan Ebel was charged with felony armed rob­bery after bran­dish­ing a gun and threat­en­ing to kill a man unless he handed over his wal­let, court doc­u­ments show.

“I’m not play­ing. … This is not a joke,” Ebel said as he pointed a gun at the victim’s head, accord­ing to wit­ness state­ments at the time.

Ebel pleaded guilty to the charge and was sen­tenced to three years in jail, serv­ing just over a year.

Just months after his release, he was arrested again. This time for felony men­ac­ing, rob­bery and assault. He pleaded guilty to those charges in 2005 and was sen­tenced to another three years in prison.

In 2006, while in prison, Ebel was charged with assault­ing a deten­tion offi­cer, records show. He pleaded guilty and received an addi­tional four years on his sentence.

*The state Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions will not dis­close when Ebel was released from prison, cit­ing the ongo­ing crim­i­nal investigation.*

Shift in investigation

The emerg­ing details about the inves­ti­ga­tion appear to indi­cate author­i­ties are shift­ing away from con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­ble involve­ment of Homaidan al-Turki, a Saudi national.

On Thurs­day, Pres­ley said that inves­ti­ga­tors were con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­ble involve­ment of al-Turki after a local news out­let, cit­ing an anony­mous source, said they were look­ing at con­nec­tions between the Saudi national and Clement.

Al-Turki was con­victed of sex­u­ally assault­ing his house­maid at his Aurora, Col­orado, home seven years ago. This month, Clements denied al-Turki’s request to serve the remain­der of his Col­orado prison sen­tence in Saudi Ara­bia, records show.

Attor­neys for al-Turki did not imme­di­ately return a CNN request for com­ment.“
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While research­ing I came across a site that ques­tioned why the 211’s were work­ing with a His­panic gang.
That indi­cates that they could have pos­si­bly been open to deal­ing with other sources of money. Saudi money.
Let’s see what hap­pens..
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Why won’t the Dept. of Cor­rec­tions release infor­ma­tion about Ebel’s prison details, as described in the arti­cle above?

Who con­tracted the hit?

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UPDATE:
http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_23135036

Colorado officials investigate tie between 211 Crew prison gang and Saudi man
Posted: 04/29/2013 10:34:13 PM MDT
April 30, 2013 5:6 PM GMTUpdated: 04/30/2013 11:06:19 AM MDTBy Kirk Mitchell

Federal and state investigators pursuing leads in the killing of Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements are exploring possible links between a prison gang and a Saudi man whose petition to be sent back home was denied by Clements just one week before his death.

Police say the man suspected of killing Clements on March 19 was parolee Evan Ebel, but in recent weeks they have shifted their attention to two major questions: Why? And did he have help?

They have interviewed dozens of people, including Ebel associates in the white-supremacist prison gang 211 Crew, and associates of Homaidan al-Turki, a Saudi national convicted of keeping his housekeeper a virtual slave in Colorado and sexually assaulting her. Al-Turki is serving an

Extras: Al-Turki
Read correspondence between Tom Clements and Gov. Hickenlooper’s chief legal counsel Jack Finlaw regarding Al-Turki. (PDF, 1 page)
eight-year-to-life sentence at Limon Correctional Facility.

FBI agents are investigating any possible financial transactions between al-Turki and 211 Crew members to determine whether he had hired the gang for protection, among other things, sources told The Denver Post. Investigators are examining his bank records, prison financial accounts and prison commissary records. Investigators are also interviewing al-Turki associates who run errands for him outside of prison, one source said.

“The FBI is trying to trace the money,” the source said. “Al-Turki has tons of money in his bank accounts. He has operatives in the U.S. that he calls. He tells them to move money here or there. When he calls on a prison phone, it’s all recorded. We know he moves money from account to account.”

Hal Haddon, al-Turki’s Denver attorney, confirmed that investigators have questioned the Saudi’s associates, but he said such allegations are the product of “outrageous” speculation with no evidence to support such a theory. He said investigators have also asked witnesses whether Haddon or other attorneys could have been involved in a murder conspiracy.

Acting on al-Turki’s behalf, Haddon and other members of his legal team filed a lawsuit April 8 in Denver District Court alleging that al-Turki had been mistreated and isolated in prison since Clements’ death and that state officials were looking for signs of a murder conspiracy.

Within an hour after Clements’ murder, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s chief legal counsel Jack Finlaw called Haddon on his cellphone, apparently attempting to implicate him in the murder under the guise of informing him about the shooting, Haddon said Monday.

“Finlaw placed a ‘pretext call’ to Haddon purporting to convey this news and seeking to elicit information which could link Mr. Al-Turki and his lawyers to the murder,” the lawsuit says.

“I think it is disgraceful and outrageous and has no factual foundation,” Haddon said.

He said when he asked Finlaw what the call was for, Finlaw declined to answer.

“Hal Haddon was one of the many people I called that night to alert them to the news of Tom’s death,” Finlaw said in a statement to The Post. “I knew that Hal had been working on a legal matter with Tom, and I thought Hal deserved the courtesy of hearing this tragic news before it hit the media. That was the only reason for my call. I left Hal a voice mail. Hal returned the call a few days later and left a message. We did not talk either time.”

Haddon said al-Turki was a linguistics doctoral student at the University of Colorado and has no money. His family sends him money to buy canteen food including “pizza” and money for very expensive phone calls to Saudi Arabia. He added that the government of Saudi Arabia has also contributed to his support.

“He’s been in prison seven years,” Haddon said. “He is not a man of great means. He was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado.”

Any notion that al-Turki had money to pay for Clements’ murder is “nonsense,” said Haddon, one of the state’s top attorneys. Al-Turki also has other Colorado attorneys and lobbyists working on his behalf.

Al-Turki’s case has been followed closely by the Saudi government, and a 2010 YouTube video that urged President Obama to pardon al-Turki has received more than 1 million views. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers went to Saudi Arabia in 2006 and spoke to King Abdullah and others

Tom Clements

Photos: Public memorial for Tom Clements.
Photos: Suspected black Cadillac from Colorado in wild chase and shootout in Texas.
Photos: Investigators search the immediate area around Clements’ home.
Map: Location and area of the fatal shooting.
Listen: El Paso County Sheriff’s dispatch responding to Clements shooting.
Photos: Gov. Hickenlooper comments on Clements’ death on March 20, 2013.
Video: Watch Hickenlooper’s reaction to Clements’ death.
Read Tony Carochi’s letter to corrections employees on Clements’ death.
about al-Turki’s case.

While the investigation goes forward, several state and prison officials remain under protection out of fear that Clements’ murder was just one objective. Some officials insist on speaking on condition of anonymity about the case because of those fears.

FBI officials on Monday declined to comment on the investigation.

El Paso County sheriff’s officials have confirmed that al-Turki remains of interest in the Clements’ murder case.

“I don’t think that is a chapter that has been closed,” said Lt. Jeff Kramer, spokesman for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators are looking at other possible angles and suspects as well, Kramer said. So far, all that is certain is that Ebel was involved, he said. The gun found in Ebel’s car in Texas following a shootout in which Ebel was killed was tied to the murders of pizza delivery driver Nathan Leon and Clements, Kramer said.

“Did he act alone or in concert with someone else,” he said. “I don’t think we’re leaning one way or the other.”

Sources say investigators believe that two 211 Crew members not only had contact with Ebel before Clements was killed, as has been reported, but afterwards as well, potentially reinforcing a theory of a conspiracy.

A veteran DOC correctional officer told The Post that he didn’t know if al-Turki had paid the 211 Crew for protection. But he said high-profile inmates whose criminal histories have been publicized, especially sex offenders, are often targeted by other inmates. The 211 Crew and other gangs offer them protection for a price.

“Or they’re dead men walking,” the officer said.

Haddon denied that his client paid the 211 Crew for protection.

Al-Turki, who ran a publishing business while living in Aurora, was accused of keeping his Indonesian housekeeper a virtual sex slave for more than four years. Al-Turki claimed his charges stemmed from anti-Muslim sentiment. He was convicted in state court in 2006 of unlawful sexual contact by use of force, theft and extortion.

He applied for a transfer to serve the rest of his prison term in his native Saudi Arabia last year. The Saudi government sent letters asking Clements to approve the transfer, saying al-Turki would be evaluated at the Al-Malaz Prison in Riyadh, treated and possibly released on parole.

While evaluating al-Turki’s request, Clements at first was inclined to approve the transfer, Haddon said.

In a copy of a Jan. 16 e-mail from Clements to Finlaw, obtained by The Post, Clements wrote: “I signed the transfer letter Monday morning.”

But the e-mail also indicated that the FBI opposed the transfer and that Clements had reconsidered his decision. Federal officials have alleged that al-Turki has ties to terrorists, an accusation he and his lawyers have denied.

On March 11, Clements sent al-Turki a letter officially notifying him that he had denied the transfer request. Clements cited al-Turki’s failure to complete treatment that is required for Colorado inmates serving time for sexual assault before they’re released on parole.

In the hours after Clements’ death, al-Turki’s name came up as a possible suspect, and the Saudi was placed in protective custody at Limon. About 10 days ago, al-Turki was returned to a general population cell. But prison officials didn’t release him until al-Turki’s lawyers sued the state, Haddon said.

“It certainly suggests to me that they didn’t find anything,” he said.
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Tom Clements

Colorado prisons chief

Since Clements was killed on March 19, detectives have interviewed more than 50 people — some of them Evan Ebel associates or fellow members of the white-supremacist 211 Crew prison gang. They have also interviewed associates of Homaidan al-Turki, a Saudi national who is imprisoned in Colorado. On March 11, Clements sent al-Turki a letter officially notifying him that he had denied his transfer request to Saudi Arabia.

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